Covering the Bases: Game 16
But there were plenty of things before that pitch from Scott Downs that paved the way forthis loss. And really, that one pitch aside, Downs got three groundouts and picked a guy off to end the top of the ninth.
Things tend to get magnfied when the deciding blow is that type of homer, though. The reality is that — besides Gordon’s homer and a three-run shot from Jose Guillen in the first — Toronto’s pitching staff was good all afternoon.
Eight innings, four singles good.
Shaun Marcum allowed that three-run jolt in the first, but recovered by retiring 14 of the next 15 hitters he faced. Overall, Marcum’s performance was solid. Just that one glitch came back to bit the Jays in the end.
But, a loss is a loss. And there’s not much room for error when the pitcher on the other side if 2009 AL Cy Young winner Zack Greinke, who looked a whole lot like 2009 AL Cy Young winner Zack Greinke.
Greinke’s line: 7 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 8 K.
SECOND: This was the seventh game in a row that the Blue Jays were playing short-handed. Edwin Encarnacion has been out with an ailing right shoulder and Toronto finally placed him on the 15-day DL following the loss. This time, the fact that the Jays were playing 24 deep showed.
The bench was thin and it forced Toronto to leave John McDonald in to hit with two outs and the game on the line in the bottom of the 10th inning. Mike McCoy had been appropriately used as a pinch runner in the eighth for catcher Jose Molina. That left the Jays without a second baseman on the bench in the 10th.
Should the Jays have used pinch hitter Randy Ruiz in the 10th, going for a shot at tying the game with a solo homer rather than use McDonald? Sure, there’s an argument to be made. But then who plays second in the 11th? Ruiz? Overbay?
Good thing Aaron Hill is set to be activated from the DL on Friday.
THIRD: This is not necessarily related to the game in question, but the fact that Encarnacion has been placed on the DL, and Hill is expected to be activated — the scenario I raised yesterday — means that the Blue Jays do not need to send either Ruiz or McCoy down to clear room on the roster.
The Jays also reorganized their rotation some for the upcoming series against the Rays. Coming up is lefty Brett Cecil, who will start on Friday. That start was originally tabbed for Brian Tallet, but he’s been shelved with a left forearm issue. Tallet’s DL stint is retro to 4/18, Encarnacion’s to 4/15.
HOME: Think the Jays miss Hill’s bat at all? I’ll leave you with this note… Over the 10-game homestand, during which Toronto went 4-6, the Blue Jays’ offense hit .221 with 12 home runs and 85 strikeouts. It’s been all or nothing. With runners in scoring position, the Jays hit at a .227 clip over the same span.
NOTE: I am not traveling to St. Pete for the weekend set against the Rays. So the blog and twitter feed will be dormant until the Jays return to the dome on Monday. Until then…